Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2012 , Vol 58 , Num 2

The Impact of Physical Therapy Programs on Pain and Quality of Life

Alp Çetin 1 ,Oya Özdemir 2 ,Fatema Sama Haghami 1 ,Özlem Taşoğlu 3
1 Hacettepe Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, Fiziksel Tıp ve Rehabilitasyon Anabilim Dalı, Ankara, Türkiye
2 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey
3 Ankara Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey
DOI : 10.4274/tftr.18199

Objective: Musculoskeletal system (MSS) diseases comprise a major health problem with negative impact on quality of life of individuals and considerable burden on health care systems. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of physical therapy programs used in the treatment of various MSS disorders on the patients’ pain and quality of life. 


Materials and Methods: 160 patients, who participated in a physical therapy program for their neck, shoulder, knee or low back pain, were included in the study. The patients’ age, sex, and the type of the prescribed physical therapy modality and exercise were recorded. Before and after the treatment, in order to evaluate the change in the severity of  pain and quality of life, the patients were respectively asked to complete the visual analog scale (VAS) and EuroQoL-5D (EQ-5D) measure.


Results: The mean age of the patients was 51.8±13.2 (21-85) years. The most commonly used modalities were hot packs among superficial heaters, ultrasound among deep heaters and TENS among analgesic currents. Whereas the most frequently prescribed exercises were strengthening exercises, stretching and range of motion exercises were rarely recommended. The average pre-treatment VAS score was 6.7±2.1 cm (0-10) and EQ-5D score was 0.30±0.34 (-0.43-0.90). After the treatment, these scores were recorded as 4.3±2.5 (0-10) and 0.59±0.28 (-0.69-1.00), respectively. Both before (p=0.022) and after the treatment (p<0.001), pain severity was higher in women and their quality of life was more deteriorated than men (p<0.001). At the end of the physical therapy programs, it was demonstrated that significant reduction in pain severity and improvement in quality of life were obtained for both sexes (p<0.001).


Conclusion: Physical therapy programs which are commonly used in the treatment of MSS diseases significantly reduce the patients’ regional pain and improve their quality of life. 

Keywords : Physical therapy, pain, quality of life, EQ-5D